* Posts by Ken Moorhouse

707 posts • joined 26 Jul 2007

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'I feel violated': Engineer who pointed out traffic signals flaw fined for 'unlicensed engineering'

Ken Moorhouse
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Re: Analog(ue) Computer Engineer

That's a very specialised field now, so that doesn't surprise me of the difficulties of gaining experience.

When I was an apprentice I briefly did some training with London Underground's driver training centre where they had a simulator which consisted of hundred's of Op Amps to perform computations. As the day progressed the settings would drift due to temperature fluctuations and this made the system unreliable. I think D/A and A/D converters have taken over for this reason. Doing a quick search shows MIT touting Analog as the best thing for bio-simulation, so it looks as if there is still demand out there.

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Ken Moorhouse
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Re: So the E in an MCSE is bollocks?

Dug up from Ye Register archives:-

https://www.theregister.co.uk/2002/11/12/microsoft_mcses_are_bogus_boffins/

https://www.theregister.co.uk/2002/11/15/i_am_an_engineer_you/

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Ken Moorhouse
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Casey Jones (1863–1900)

Was he licensed as an engineer, or should he have been fined?

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Apache OpenOffice: Not dead yet, you'll just have to wait until mid-May for mystery security fixes

Ken Moorhouse
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Re: render the document the way a particular version of MS Office would render it

No point because in the past at least, MS couldn't be bothered to ensure identical page layout between versions of their own products.

Many years ago I had a global publisher of modular educational materials as a customer. When they moved versions of MS Office (or printer hardware) they had to reprint every single page of every single document that was in their current course portfolio because of page formatting anomalies.

Arguably they should have been using software with better markup control in the first place, but I suppose budgets got in the way (an example of short-term gain being a long-term nightmare).

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Ken Moorhouse
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Re: ...pushing this hard to lock people into Office 365...

If something is good then there is no need to lock people in. MS has already demonstrated that your storage allocation may go down as well as up.

If ephemeral storage (that's what cloud storage should really be called) is needed then let that be provided by a third-party that makes available hooks for all products, including maybe {O36x|x<5}

Apart from "core competency" considerations, Integrating cloud into LibreOffice, and integrating cloud into OpenOffice using a different technique forces people into making a committed choice. If the projects were ever to merge then this would be a barrier to merging.

P.S. I prefer OO because I started using that first, but I have both on my system.

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O (n^2) Canada! Code bugs knacker buses, TV, broadband, phone lines

Ken Moorhouse
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"...customer impacts tomorrow are limited..."

Sounds like life expectancy in Canada is lower than average if this is the daily forecast.

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Drone maker DJI quietly made large chunks of Iraq, Syria no-fly zones

Ken Moorhouse
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Non-obvious Geofenced areas...

Meaning areas marked as NFZ but for no obvious reason, will no doubt be targeted by people curious to know what the reason is behind a specific restriction. Such researchers will be congratulated on sharing their finds on forums setup to discuss them, defeating the whole object of them.

I can also envisage some NFZ's being set up as "honeypots". No reason for there to be a NFZ, but any drone flying in that area could be investigated as to how it was able to breach these security features.

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Insuring against a future financial crisis

Ken Moorhouse
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Hyperinflation...

I wonder whether the financial industry is geared up for the possibility of hyperinflation. Ok countries have coped with it in the past, and there are countries in the danger zone now, but in my view if it were to occur in countries heavily dependent on computer processing of transactions in the future then there would be far bigger ramifications than hitherto.

The reason being that databases consisting of tables that contain fields for monetary units will not be able to store values (they will overflow).

At some stage a move away from having a decimal point in currencies would be a good way to go, because this will remove a big uncertainty as to how database developers treat currency. Then everyone will treat currency in terms of integers, or bigint's or whatever size you want to predict - migrating from one integer range to a bigger integer range is easier than what would happen if everyone had to migrate from what they use at the moment to something else.

For example, I am sure there are designers out there who use "lossy" formats to store currency. The most extreme example being floating point - could this be a reason why the Taunton to Trowbridge syndrome occurred? (see elsewhere on this forum). It is easy to cite floating point calculations which produce wildly inaccurate results because of the algorithm used - floating point arithmetic is not always commutative.

Certainly people are asking for trouble using float, but there are other number formats which have poor techniques for handling extremely large numbers - which effectively get rid of lesser significant digits, which is fine in the scientific world, but not in commerce. I'm sure many developers use such techniques believing they are sound, but are not.

In short, how many systems are going to break when stress-tested in this way? I suspect one helluva lot. Presumably there is some "test suite" that one can run financial transactions through, but have such suites been developed with an eye for hyperinflation, where currency transactions may consist of 25 or more digits - each of which needs to be accounted for?

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Would you believe it? The Museum of Failure contains quite a few pieces of technology

Ken Moorhouse
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Re: no call logs

Two-part telex rolls were your "call log". Contemporaneous messages before and after the telex whose provenance was being questioned would have nailed proof of validity.

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Ken Moorhouse
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Re: Fax Machines: The Prior Solution

You've forgotten Telex!

Brilliant concept for legally proving a message was sent and received simultaneously.

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Ken Moorhouse
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Post It Notes

Classic example of failure being a subsequent success.

Personally I hate them for anything other than passing on messages that are to be instantly discarded. Upgrading customer hardware almost invariably involves peeling off a plethora of long irrelevant password and shopping reminders from keyboards and monitors.

Me? I have A4 scraps of reminders strewn all over my desk. I subscribe to the "Geological Philosophy" of "physical data retrieval". This is where one looks for information only down as far as "well this note was written much longer ago than what I'm looking for, so it can't be in this pile." (If someone invents a Management Strategy out of this, I'd appreciate an acknowledgement).

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BT Email (22.4.17)

Ken Moorhouse
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BT Email sending (22.4.17)

(Sorry if in wrong section, picked the closest relevant one)

BTinternet admit that they are having problems with their customers sending emails out using a mail client. They cite "security issues" as the reason. They have no idea when the problem will be fixed. They say this has been going on since early March, but today is the first support call I've received concerning this.

Anyone else experiencing this?

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Alaska dentist 'pulled out patient's tooth while riding a hoverboard'

Ken Moorhouse
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IT Angle

Missing Tooth

The only IT Angle I can think of is a cavITy.

(A hoverboard is a bit light on the information front)

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Oh snap! UK Prime Minister Theresa May calls June election

Ken Moorhouse
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She should have sought this mandate months ago

When she became leader would have been the best time. That way there would have been no question as to the way Brexit would pan out.

Now the timing could bite her on her leather trizers. The Lib Dems will go from strength to strength, there is nothing to stop them. The coalition gave people a taster, and for all the flak that was flung, that wasn't a dire experience. Cable is rubbing his hands with anticipation, and so is Clegg. Ashdown of course, predicted this would happen.

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Leaked NSA point-and-pwn hack tools menace Win2k to Windows 8

Ken Moorhouse
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Re: The characteristic of a server is that it provides services.

It could be called a mainframe, if you wish. But if services provided are surfaced through dumb VT100 terminals, or similar, then there is less danger of vulnerability. Why "Less" and not "no"? If commands are defined which are allowed to configure the host environment, then it depends on the extent of those commands.

The problem with techies is that they/we find it difficult to resist extending functionality through backdoors which have been specifically programmed in. A good example of this is BASIC. The original intent of this language was the provision of a padded cell where programmers could knock themselves silly with whatever code they wanted to, no damage done. Then some bright spark invented the POKE command...

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Ken Moorhouse
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Let's stop pretending...

...that standards-compliant software is a universal panacea for security.

When I started in the industry the server room was accessible only through locked doors, and housed in a Faraday Cage, in a building guarded 24/7/365.25. Ethernet was still in development. The only way to have a two-way dialog with the server was through teletype situated in the server room.

Standards such as Ethernet, TCP/IP are great for flexibility, but it is a two-way street. If you want security then the relevant bespoke hardware/firmware/software needs to be developed and rolled out. Too difficult, too expensive? Well, that's the trade-off that has to be considered.

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Cerber surpasses Locky to become dominant ransomware menace

Ken Moorhouse
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Re: At the board meeting...

Any Other Business

Get people to invest in our company. Then, when they download their share certificates, mwah ha ha!!

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Free health apps laugh in the face of privacy, sell your wheezing data

Ken Moorhouse
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call information were not infrequently requested

This is presumably so that the app can associate blood pressure spikes with phone calls from the boss, and recommend that another job would benefit your health.

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T-Mobile US CEO offers kid a year's supply of chicken nuggets for switching from AT&T

Ken Moorhouse
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Here, have some chicken wings instead...

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs-news-from-elsewhere-39514102

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WD unveils grown-up USB stick in My Passport slab form

Ken Moorhouse
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Re: g force 1500 ?

I doubt the contents would survive a drop table.

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Ken Moorhouse
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WP5.1

A product ahead of its time. The concept of a clean screen, apart from the page number and top/left margin settings belied the power beneath. I still support customers who use later versions of it.

Talking about legacy storage, who remembers OnTrack's venerable Disk Manager? Something that would trip up many a data recovery attempt if the presence of it were not known about.

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iCloud extortion racket nowhere near as epic as we thought it might be

Ken Moorhouse
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Re: Wots a /dev/random?

Here's an analogy:-

https://thumbs.dreamstime.com/z/sink-plunger-24879654.jpg

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Uber wasn't to blame for robo-ride crash – or was it? Witness said car tried to 'beat the lights'

Ken Moorhouse
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Re: One word: Roundabout

Ah now you're talking about things going full circle...

I remember the days when the Polish War Memorial junction was a roundabout.

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Ken Moorhouse
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Re: Accelerating from rest: Resolving Latency using Batching

When traffic lights turn to green, there is a delay before each successive vehicle in the queue can accelerate from rest. This is inefficient. With auto-driven cars that are in touch with one another electronically it would be interesting to investigate the possibility that vehicles "batch" their intentions together, all those doing so during the green phase of the lights that can make it through on that green phase can be bound together electronically and accelerate in unison through the intersection.

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Ken Moorhouse
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Two sets of traffic lights are needed

One for humans (visual), the type we are all used to.

The other (electronic) is for robot cars. All intersections have some kind of electronic signal which signals to robot cars that the traffic light is red, even though it is green. If the speed profile of the car is deemed safe, and a green is likely to be encountered at that speed profile when the car hits the junction then the light is cleared for the car to pass through. The speed profile is monitored throughout the approach and is triggered accordingly when it is assured that the overall process is under control.

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Dishwasher has directory traversal bug

Ken Moorhouse
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Update Patches...

Will they mirror that of certain printer manufacturers?

"Ah, I see you've used the wrong tablets, exceeded the duty cycle, etc. Your warranty is cancelled."

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Ken Moorhouse
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Directory Traversal Bug

Used to have a washing machine that had a Kitchen Traversal Bug when on some cycles of its programme.

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Ofcom wants automatic compensation for the people when ISPs fail

Ken Moorhouse
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"...bill credit or other form of cash payment..."

This makes it sound as if a "bill credit" is a form of "cash payment".

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Boffins reveal how to pour a perfect glass of wine with no drips. First step, take a diamond...

Ken Moorhouse
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What about...

...a sharp-edged orifice?

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Why do GUIs jump around like a demented terrier while starting up? Am I on my own?

Ken Moorhouse
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Re: Memories of Ashton Tate: Nantucket

Yes that's what we did. Coming from a Coral 66 background I never did get on with the ad hoc scoping of Clipper though. Delphi/XE gives the best of many worlds IMHO.

Which reminds me: will have to check to see if Messrs West and Pappalardi are on Spotify (Great music for squishing bugs by).

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Ken Moorhouse
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Adobe Reader... + Memories of Ashton Tate

How many here have inadvertently downloaded McAfee when all they want is Adobe Reader? I'm sure the tick box (pre-populated with a tick) for this optional extra is designed to lag being rendered just far enough behind the main "install" button just long enough for that to be clicked on, tricking you into accepting the McAfee option as well.

Ashton Tate: I remember trying to install Dbase IV from floppy disk. I forget how many floppies there were, but it took ages to plug them in, one by one. I swear that the first disk contained nothing but an animation of the Ashton Tate logo which appeared to shrink from screen size down to visible proportion, not impressed with that introduction to the software, and it went downhill from there.

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MAC randomization: A massive failure that leaves iPhones, Android mobes open to tracking

Ken Moorhouse
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Re: MAC address changes are DANGEROUS because

Which is why I'm saying that there's no point adding layers of complexity which do not add any materially useful function, and which decrease reliability.

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Ken Moorhouse
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Re: MAC address changes are DANGEROUS because

The concept of a MAC address is that it is a Hardware address. It shouldn't be readily changeable. If you let Software tinker with that address in an automated way, especially across a network link of some sort, then you are setting the scene for security woes. In a similar way (in fact in a much more versatile way) to ARP Poisoning a malicious device could set itself up to receive traffic from another device, while at the same time disabling the device by setting its MAC address to something else. The potential for mischief is limited only by the imagination of a competent hacker.

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Ken Moorhouse
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Persistence between MAC changes

Surely there's a problem at the point when the MAC address changes?

Let's say that you are in the middle of a banking transaction when the change occurs (just being logged in to a bank site, for example): the session drops which means it has to be restarted from scratch, so the app being used (say a browser) that was hosting the session will have to provide persistence in order to ensure a seamless handover - a cookie.

But that cookie can identify that handset, so then we go round in a circle.

Such behaviour could also cause the handset to login to a "dangling" connection - one that is not currently connected to anything, but has snooped your settings and enables a connection to take place, picking up your session.

Then there's the possibility of MAC address collisions. What happens if two devices dish out the same MAC address at the same time? This could happen during an Android Lover's Convention perhaps where hundreds of Android fondlers have got together to discuss their devices. The whole idea of MAC addresses is to provide a method of ensuring uniqueness.

Oh, and what about DHCP servers that bind MAC addresses to IP addresses? that won't work anymore.

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Beijing deploys facial scanners to counter public toilet abuse

Ken Moorhouse
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Have someone posted outside with a placard that says:-

"Say NO to Paper Cuts"

This may frighten people enough for them to bring in their own supply.

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Ken Moorhouse
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Re: dorter#2

>That can't be normal, can it?

Perhaps she feels she has to live up to her nickname.

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BlackBerry admits dying BB10 is in pain

Ken Moorhouse
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Support for Blackberry

I think there is still a lot of support for Blackberry. I for one do not relish the prospect of being forced to migrate to either Iphone or "mainstream" Android devices. The killer for a lot of people will, I suspect, be in the hands of Whatsapp if they go ahead with their threat and remove support for BB. FWIW BB users: Sign this petition:-

https://www.ipetitions.com/petition/no-end-of-support-for-whatsapp-on-blackberry-10

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Watt the f... Dim smart meters caught simply making up readings

Ken Moorhouse
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Re: Harmonics are doing us in.

I thought a primary rule of comms theory was that if any waveform is to be sampled then a low- or band-pass filter needed to be inserted in circuit before the sampler.

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Ken Moorhouse
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Re: you can see a person's living patterns quite easily

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-wiltshire-39064526

I think the overall size of the leccy bill would give the game away, never mind the half-hourly sampling.

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Ken Moorhouse
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What's the world coming to...

...when Kirchhoff wants his mark-up on all current flowing in and out of a node.

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Favored Swift hits the charts: Now in top 10 programming languages

Ken Moorhouse
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Shooting yourself in the foot...

Time to update the list...

http://www.toodarkpark.org/computers/humor/shoot-self-in-foot.html

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Vodafone gets less flexible on flexible working Ts&Cs for own staff

Ken Moorhouse
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"Smart working days should not be the same day each week"

Seems that they are concerned that their staff will take on outside work commitments instead of concentrating on working for Vodafone.

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Uber blackballs 'Greyball' tool it used to deny rides to regulators

Ken Moorhouse
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Re: ...and had to call a second company.

The address you gave as the pick-up point: it wasn't a government building was it?

At least Uber haven't adopted this technique:-

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=71BC8M9Hw0I

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Solarwinds sends customers each others' complete client lists

Ken Moorhouse
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RemoteManagement

Does this describe the product or...

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